French-fried potatoes were likely invented during the 18th century in the area that later became Belgium. The name “French” was applied to them in (American) English at the beginning of the 19th century. The straightforward explanation of the term is that it means potatoes fried in the French sense of the verb: “to fry” can mean either sauteing or deep-fat frying, while its French origin, frire, unambiguously means deep-frying : frites being its past participle used with a plural feminine substantive, as in pommes de terre frites (“deep-fried potatoes”). Thomas Jefferson, famous for serving French dishes, wrote exactly the latter French expression. In the early 20th century, the term “French fried” was being used for foods such as onion rings or chicken, apart from potatoes. The verb “to french”, though not attested until after “French fried potatoes” had appeared, can refer to “julienning” of vegetables as is acknowledged by some dictionaries while others only refer to trimming the meat off the shanks of chops.